Designing an interior for a retail store is all about psychology. You see, it’s not just about putting all of your inventory on display, it’s also about the way you display accent pieces, push slow-moving products, and guide the shopper on their journey through your store in general. One wrong design choice and you can lose their interest and force them out the way they came, so all the more reason to employ the best practices in the field to keep them inside and inspire them to make a positive decision.

From the first thing they encounter at the front door, to the pathways that permeate your store, all the way to focal points and speed bumps to make them hang out in a particular section, there’s plenty that goes into organizing a retail store interior. Let’s take a look at the best practices in the industry that will attract shoppers.

Mind the decompression zone

Greeting your customers with amazing products and promotions as soon as they walk in might seem like the sensible thing to do – after all, you want to grab their attention before they’ve had the chance to reconsider. However, over the years this has proven not to be the case. In fact, what you should do is give your customers some space.

Download Branding Resources Guide

Building a brand starts by having the right tools and advice. Download our top 10 essential tools and resources to kick-start your branding.


Also known as the “decompression zone”, the first ten to fifteen feet of space serve the purpose of acclimating your visitors to your interior, which means that the majority of products displayed here tend to get overlooked. Shoppers will notice other features such as lighting, colors, fixtures, and advertisements in order to gain a perception of your brand. With that in mind, it’s essential that you allow them to breathe and form a positive opinion, so refrain from putting products here.

Put your best offer to the right

Upon entering, 90% of customers will turn to the right without even realizing. This inadvertent decision creates an amazing opportunity for you to design this area for maximum impact and engagement, so be sure to put your best-performing products here. Also known as the “power wall”, the first wall they encounter will serve a distinct purpose of grabbing their attention, and even making a quick sale. Most importantly, it will inspire them to peruse the rest of your store.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to clutter the wall with all of your top-selling merchandise. Instead, devise a theme that will appeal to your customers, such as a wall with high-demand products, or a wall with discounts. You can even combine the products with brand messages in order influence their decision-making process through the power of storytelling.

Offer Quick Checkout Options

Many store owners now offer state of the art point of sale systems to aid the customer with faster self-checkout. According to TopPOSSystem.Com, retail stores that changed their design to include point of sale system saw a sales increase of 25%. 

Design shelving and displays with functionality in mind

Functionality is the key to effective store design, as the products you display should not only be within easy reach, but should also be stored safely and preferably without cluttering the interior or making perusing a cumbersome chore. Needless to say, this is a delicate process in which you will need to experiment with different shelving options to suit your needs.

Once you have measured the amount of space you have available for your merchandise, you can research the types of industrial storage shelving in order to find the best storage solution for your layout and the amount of space you have to work with. Be sure to use industrial-grade shelving for all cumbersome items that need to be stored in a safe way with no risk of falling on the unsuspecting customers.

Guide your shoppers on a journey

The modern shopper wants and needs to be guided on their shopping journey. If you don’t carve a path for them through your store, they’re either going to miss out on some of your amazing products, or they’re going to get confused and walk away. Needless to say, you can’t let this happen if you want to make a sale, and more importantly, generate repeat customers.

To achieve these goals, you can start by placing furniture, ads, road signs, as well as racks and displays to help your customer navigate the maze of merchandise and devote their full attention to every aisle. Provided that the path has started at the wall to the right, you want to guide your customers along the racks to the back of the store, and then counterclockwise along the left side and towards the exit. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t position strategic focal points throughout and even “speed bumps” that will make the slow down and stay engaged.

Emphasize personal space and comfort

There is an interesting phenomenon in the retail industry, popularly known as the “butt-brush effect”. In essence, people do not want to brush their respective derrieres with other customers, and they will even refrain from venturing into certain parts of the store if they think that these space is too narrow for comfort. This common design mistake will leave the area deserted and the merchandise within, unsold.

To prevent losing money on this simple design tweak, just make sure to put your customers’ comfort first. Broaden the aisles, declutter the racks and shelves, and create plenty of floor space to prevent the dreaded “butt-brushing”. This might be a difficult task, especially if you have plenty of merchandise on your hands, but it will nonetheless prove essential for the overall customer experience in your store.

The contemporary retail store design aims to simplify the shopping journey, influence the decision-making process in a positive way, and generate recurring business for your brand. Use these essential design tips to appeal to the modern customer and take your retail store to new levels of success.

Posted by Wendy Dessler

Wendy is a super connector who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized marketing plans depending on the industry and competition.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *